Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes - Review

Sherlock Holmes, the gaunt, ascetic, ruthlessly logical pursuer of crime and mystery created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle needs no introduction. The adventures of this sharply witty and moody detective and his lovably pedantic and faithful friend Dr. Watson are a perennial source of inspiration to lovers of crime fiction.
Sherlock Holmes a predecessor of a long line of amateur detectives elevated criminal investigation to a fine art. His original and imaginative plot races along like a furious roller coaster, leaving the reader guessing which way it will turn next...
Read on to find out how Holmes and Dr. Watson solve mysteries of
  • Silver Blaze
  • The Crooked Man
  • The Yellow Face
  • The Resident Patient
  • The Stockbroker’s Clerk
  • The Greek Interpreter
  • The “Gloria Scott"
  • The Naval Treaty
  • The Musgrave Ritual
  • The Reigate Squires
  • The Final Problem

About the Author
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KGStJ, DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer who is most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularizing the mystery of the Mary Celeste. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels.

It’s remarkable how fiction can seem more real than reality, how a character conceived in a few words can live on beyond the pages, assuming a larger than life form, walking, sitting, and talking with you, his singular skills in finding solutions to problems that seem tricky initially, but once he deduces them and provides his reasonings, you feel oh – that – was – so – simple. Sherlock Holmes isn't just a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Rather, he is the hero, the brilliance, and the star that lives on till eternity.

'The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes' consists of eleven adventures narrated by Dr. Watson, the loyal friend and companion of the detective. His characteristic emphasis on laying down the details add a touch of realism into it, and the visual imagery comes into play. As the events progress, the readers find themselves watching rather than reading what the accounts have to offer. The ‘mystery’ genre is certainly one of the toughest to write, but then, Sir Doyle has made it look so simple with his swashbuckling style and panache.

‘Silver Blaze’ is one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes adventure. A race horse, who was deemed as a favorite to win an important race the following day, disappears and its trainer is mysteriously murdered. As always, the clues apparently doesn't hint out at anything relevant, but Holmes finds out answers from the most mundane of sights, as he so cleverly points out in his conversation with the Scotland Yard detective.

Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

‘The Yellow Face’ is one of those rare stories where Holmes's deduction fails to match the truth that is finally revealed. The story deals more with love and emotions, and touches a chord with the readers, for its sensitive portrayal of human relationships. Holmes, humbled by what eventually comes to light, admits his failure and tells Watson to remind him of this case whenever he gets overconfident.

“Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little overconfident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you.”

‘The Stockbroker’s Clerk’ case brings Hall Pycroft to the master detective. Hall is approached by one Arthur Pinner who offers him a lucrative job at a newly established organization. However, Hall’s suspicion arises when he notices that Arthur and his brother Harry have a distinctive gold-filling in their teeth in the same place. Not sure of their motive, Hall seeks help from Holmes to shed light into the matter.

‘The Gloria Scott’ narrates how time plays a crucial role in a man’s life. When the past meets the present, the future is sure to change. Holmes’s friend, Victor Trevor, calls upon his assistance, regarding a mysterious letter that his father had received and which made him turn pale. Though the contents of the letter seems vague at first, Holmes decodes it and brings forth the hidden story.

Holmes narrates the incidents of ‘The Musgrave Ritual’ to Watson, stating that it was one of the earliest cases on which he had worked. Reginald Musgrave, the client in this story, reports the missing of his maid and butler to Holmes. Also, what is interesting is that the butler was found secretly reading a family document, which looked more like a puzzle. Holmes help in uncovering the mystery of the document, and what lay beyond that which seemed to be a mere collection of verses.

Holmes was supposed to be on rest in an estate that belonged to one of Watson’s friend. However, the adventure of ‘The Reigate Suires’ pops up and his adventure seeking mind jumps on to the trail. A burglary is committed in which the thieves steal several things, but nothing much of value. Soon, news of a murder is also reported, which makes the case all the more curious and deadly.

In ‘The Crooked Man’, Colonel James Barclay is found dead, and his wife Nancy is considered to be the prime suspect. Holmes invites Watson to accompany him as he is working on the final stage of this investigation. This again, deals more with emotions than with crime, and is based on the backdrops of love, loyalty and deceit.

‘The Resident Patient’ is another of those stories where the past returns to haunt the present. Dr. Trevelyan is approached by a man named Blessington, who would like to invest on his practice. The Doctor is set up in a prestigious premise, and he doesn't suspect anything initially. However, Blessington is found dead one day, and the events take a completely unexpected turn.

In ‘The Greek Interpreter’ we meet Mycroft, Holmes’s elder brother. Holmes admits to Watson that his brother has a stronger sense of reasoning, but is disinterested to perform investigations to prove his thinking. The story deals with Melas, a Greek Interpreter, who was called upon by some people to perform some translation work for them. However, he soon comes to know that they are a bunch of criminals, and could harm him as well.

‘The Naval Treaty’ falls in the genre of spy story, and excels in it. Percy Phelps, a former schoolmate of Watson, works in the Foreign Office. An important naval treaty on which he was working goes missing, and that leads him to extreme anguish and brain fever. The document contains secrets that shouldn't fall into the wrong hands, and thus it’s loss poses potential threat of national integrity and security.

‘The Final Problem’ is perhaps the most heartbreaking story featuring Sherlock Holmes. The sad tone can even be found out in the narration of Dr. Watson. The story introduces Professor James Moriarty, Holmes’s greatest opponent, and possessing the same skills and mastery as the detective. A sad conclusion to his adventures, indeed, as the story ends with the supposed death of Holmes.

Title: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 
Authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Short Fiction, Mystery
No. of Pages: 256
Price: Rs 135
My Rating: 5/5


  1. Amrit, I have not read a "Sherlock Holmes" mystery for many years.
    You have provided me with a refreshing look-back, which I SHALL enjoy!
    Thank you, Sir!